Power, relationships and effectiveness in construction marketing

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Some Google swag. If you can associate with big name institutions, brands or individuals, either locally or (better) internationally, you win powerful marketing credibility.

How can you control your circumstances so that you succeed with your architectural, engineering and construction marketing? One answer — and it is only part of the picture — can be discovered when you appreciate power relationships; that is, your relative level of control over your environment and your potential clients’ perspectives, compared with your own history and competition.

“Power” can be seen in different lights depending on your marketplace circumstances.

Consider, for example, your status as a relatively small sub-trade seeking work in a big metropolitan community. How can you break through the clutter to discover the clients who would be worthy of doing business with you especially when there are large organizations around you with huge marketing budgets (and capacities)?

This may create a seemingly impossible challenge, but you can reframe the rules by focusing (a) on a specialized niche where you are the undisputed expert (and can demonstrate it), (b) redefining your geographical or community interest scope so that you become the biggest fish in the relatively small pond or (c) striking strategic alliances or relationships with the powerful players. (Possible, sometimes through specialized expertise or local connections (a) and (b) or perhaps by legislative or regulatory measures —  such as when you are a minority or woman-owned business, or somehow eligible for special considerations in contract administration.)

You should give weight to the “redefining relationships” aspect — because here you can sometimes harness what may have been your (former) competitor’s power to your positive advantage, and in effect, apply the powerful player’s clout to your otherwise small business.

As an example, I earn about $100 a month from Google’s ad serving program. Hardly enough to speak about — and Google, as a multi-billion dollar company, certainly has more power than me. But I have special status as one of 300 or so help forum contributors, who receive annual expense-paid invitations to meet-ups and international summits. This status certainly changes the frame of reference when discussions with current and potential clients center around website, search and Internet-marketing. And I have a rather defined and qualified network for support and leadership within a diversity of product fields and areas. I won this power because of specialized knowledge and a willingness to assist voluntarily in a sometimes-challenging environment. The process to win this status took some time but no cash.

You should understand power, but don’t need to be intimidated by it. Instead, harness it to your construction marketing effectiveness.

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